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Microsoft’s Windows RT hardware compatibility list is published

by Mark Tyson on 2 November 2012, 10:03

Tags: Surface

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Microsoft has released a list of compatible hardware for the fledgling Windows RT operating system. It’s an impressive list featuring 30,779 items of hardware, at the time of writing, described as compatible with Windows RT. Users aren’t presented with a very very long list at the Compatibility Centre website, things are organised into categories and the database is easily and quickly searchable. For me it was interesting to find out that my almost decade old Samsung ML-1210 mono laser is compatible but my much more recent Canon MP550 has limited functionality.

The new Windows RT section of the Microsoft Compatibility Centre website (toggle the OS you are interested in with the control widget in the upper right corner) lists devices under the categories of; Cameras & photo, Printers & scanners, MP3 & media players, TV devices, Communications devices, Mice, keyboards & input devices, Displays, Networking, Graphics cards & components and finally Storage devices. Some of the categories are a bit pointless with regards to a Microsoft Surface RT tablet as, for instance, there are unsurprisingly no graphics cards compatible with the new ARM powered tablet.

The vast array of hardware that is supported by the Surface for Windows RT includes diverse input devices from the likes of Logitech, Microsoft, HP, Kensington and even arch rival Apple. A nice gaming option might be to use a Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Game Controller, less useful I think, though still compatible, is the Apple Magic Multi-touch Trackpad. There are no driver downloads required for using these two input device examples.

A lot of the compatible hardware utilises the Surface's full sized USB port.



HEXUS Forums :: 25 Comments

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My surface only arrived yesterday so I've not had much time, but so far I've only found one thing that doesn't work, and even then it still works a bit.

So far, my printers, all work, including higher end devices like my pigment R2880.
USB Headset + Microphone.
Mouse + Keyboard.
USB HDD via bus powered Hub.
My USB Scanner.

However, my Brother MFC device only half works, the printer works perfectly and frankly effortlessly, as soon as I'd joined the wifi, identified it as “home” location, it uPnP'd the sucker. Meaning I just had the option to print appear before I had the time to even start office once. Top Marks for that. However it also has a ADF which is handy for scanning contracts and the like, no joy. If I plug it in via USB it works, but not via Wireless. Kinda half minded about that, as the scanner requires a Windows XP or later 32bit compatabile OS to run Brothers frankly piss poor scanning software. I can however email it from the printer. So its a sterling 6/10 for the scanner, only a partial fail.

It's worth mentioning that NONE of these devices work out of the box on my iPad 2, or my Nexus 7, the latter I know only light fiddling is required for the HID stuff, but I still need a strange cable you can't buy in most shops.
Impressive, I think MS sorted this out thoroughly after Vista's and previous version's compatibility issues.

@TheAnimus, how are you finding it in general, do you think it's any good for productivity (mainly writing/typing)?

I'm torn, do I put my money on the RT or wait for the first Pro iteration, I'm hoping for a Haswell based one later on, I'm also about to get a new phone, decisions decisions - first world problems…
I've brought it in to a clients office and we spent a little while trying to find USB things to plug in that wouldn't work.

A £10,000 xerox machine will only work via the network print server (sold seperately) not straight in via USB. Then again we're not sure if it works like that because it didn't on an XP 32bit machine that was next to it.

USB to VGA worked. Seriously impressed.

Performance of it is a strange thing. I think in metro even more than in desktop, there should be some kind of system stress indicator think how rolls royace don't have a rev counter in the new phantom, but a power reserve. That sort of usability thing to let you know stuff. For example:

When I first set it up last night, it decided to update office, fair enough, 600meg download, which despite having a 80mbit connection available it lapped slowly away at about 10mbits…. Eventually it had downloaded, then came the install. This was going on in the ‘background’ but the entire thing ground to a halt.

Apple by not allowing any real multitasking on the iPad short of buying multiple ones, don't have this problem. But Surface does. By this I mean my mother, bless her, would have no idea why its now slow. Hell are dare say plenty of technology journos wouldn't either.

They really should have put in place some kind of mechansisim maybe, just thinking aloud here, devs would be able to put in the manafest on services localised string messages, then the TS could notify, and you'd get something like
“Your tablet is running slowly, this is because:\r\n Office is being updated, this may take a few minuites” via the existing notification API.

It would just be nice to know.

As for productivity, its the most productive tablet out there by a mile. Now that's a bit like saying “well he's a nicer bloke than garry glitter”.

You can plug in an external keyboard mouse and monitor, you could use it as a ‘desktop’ if you wanted. The touch cover keyboard is simply amazing, thou for me slightly stress inducing as a proper touch typist i'm used to feeling the edge of the keys more. However I'm already up to about 40-50 wpms.

The office suite itself is great. Performance isn't an issue even if your using SmartArt or other such things, its not going to be slowing you down.

However it does lack VBA, which is a terrible shame, and I fear harks back to the strange split between the office team and everyone else at microsoft. The original integration in Office 97 was a massive compromise afterall.

However on the plus side it lacks VBA so security of word documents and the like will be a lot better. I'd happily consider getting these (Along with proper keyboard and monitor work stations) for any kind of simple office worker, like an HR drone. I think they'd love me for it.

Interestingly plenty of reviers have failed to talk about One Note. There are two versions available, thou only the desktop one is installed by default, there is a simplified metro one. That's very handy for note taking.

In short, its definately a buy, but probably worth waiting until MS have all the updates in place (hate waiting 40mins after opening new toy to get down to business).
A nice gaming option might be to use a Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Game Controller
Is that the “proper” XBox one or the XBox Controller for Windows - not that it makes much difference to me since I've got both. :)
TheAnimus
Performance of it is a strange thing. I think in metro even more than in desktop, there should be some kind of system stress indicator think how rolls royace don't have a rev counter in the new phantom, but a power reserve. That sort of usability thing to let you know stuff.
System load indicator on Ubuntu. Surely with the number of Surface's out there if it's possible then someone'll gen up an app(let) and stuff it into the store. Sounds like an ideal use for MUI's Live Tiles! :)
TheAnimus
When I first set it up last night, it decided to update office, fair enough, 600meg download, which despite having a 80mbit connection available it lapped slowly away at about 10mbits….
Funny you should say that - I was trying to download stuff from MS last night and it was dog slow - maybe it was all those Surface folks doing updates…. :(
TheAnimus
They really should have put in place some kind of mechansisim maybe, just thinking aloud here, devs would be able to put in the manafest on services localised string messages, then the TS could notify, and you'd get something like
“Your tablet is running slowly, this is because:\r\n Office is being updated, this may take a few minuites” via the existing notification API.It would just be nice to know.
A bit like the Android notifications bar - on my S3 I get warning's when it's doing media or AV scans.
TheAnimus
As for productivity, its the most productive tablet out there by a mile. Now that's a bit like saying “well he's a nicer bloke than garry glitter”.
I'll disagree. Although the availability of “proper” Office is a big plus point, and the USB compatibility could well be a “home run” in a lot of people's book.
TheAnimus
The office suite itself is great. However on the plus side it lacks VBA so security of word documents and the like will be a lot better. I'd happily consider getting these (Along with proper keyboard and monitor work stations) for any kind of simple office worker, like an HR drone. I think they'd love me for it.
Downside of the VBA-lack is that it'll mean that some “smart” documents fail. I get a couple of these - mainly xlsx's - so if I can't use them on the Surface then that'd be a problem for me to use the Surface instead of a base laptop.

Thanks for the posting though - comprehensive and well-thought. Maybe Hexus could offer you a beer voucher to do a full-on article?

As I said way back I can easily see the RT gear stealing a lot of sales from both iPad's and top-end Android devices (the low to middle end stuff is safe purely on the price aspect).

Hopefully RT will take off - we consumers need a third option - and current naysayers like Sony, HP, Toshiba and Acer will get over their Surface-induced fright and join in.
Awesome to read of some hands-on experience TheAnimus - thanks for the update! I'm holding for the Pro but i'm really interested in the RT (i'd love to actually try one myself) which (as I've said before) surprises me as it's easy to dismiss as being not compatible enough with Windows ‘proper’. I suppose, given i've got an iPad that's a bit silly since that's even less so.

What's the ‘feel’ of quality like? As good as they say?